John Miller at NRO reminded me that today is Stowe's birthday. I think it is worth noting for both public and private purposes, and not only because she was "the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war". She should be remembered for our own good, and Uncle Tom's Cabin
was one of the first books I ever read (about age 9), and I loved it. That the term "Uncle Tom" has been misused in our time is one of those great wrongs the world is capable of allowing. On the other hand, there are good men trying to write that wrong, see Bill Allen's Rethinking Uncle Tom's Cabin: The Political Philosophy of Harriet Beecher Stowe
, wherein he tries to reclaim his promised hero.
I read the book in Hungarian (a 1954 version), with the explicit Christian references removed by the communist regime. But even nine year old boys understand something about freedom (and Christianity)....besides I was also reading Hucklebery Finn
, and already knew something about a boy and a man on a raft on a big river talking about freedom, about ruling themselves and ruling others. And as Huck learned from him, so did I. The tyrants could remove references to natural rights and Christianity, as if human beings were incapable of reading between the lines. But it turned out they were wrong, the human mind is created free, and can figure these things out on its own, along with Uncle Tom, and Jim, and Huck, and Peter. Bless you Mrs. Stowe.